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Why Turkey Needs a Post-Kemalist Order

The process of making a new constitution has prompted a debate about the place of Kemalism in the supreme normative order of the Turkish state. Whether Kemalism will be part of the new constitution is important because it will determine the democratic characteristics of the regime to be established thereafter. Questioning the compatibility of Kemalism with democracy this commentary argues that unless Kemalism is abandoned as an ideology protected by the Constitution and the law, there can be no full-fledged liberal democracy in Turkey. An ideology protected and promoted by the constitution sets limits to freedom of thought and expression, and blurs the boundaries between the ideological and the legal. Linking the search for a new constitution with the crisis of Kemalism it is concluded that a post-Kemalist order is needed in order to consolidate democracy, establish civilian control over the military, redefine secularism, and resolve the long-standing Kurdish question.

Why Turkey Needs a Post-Kemalist Order
The new Turkey needs a post-Kemalist constitution characterized by plurality of identities, respect for individual life styles and supremacy of civilians over the military.

Turkey is in the process of making a new constitution. A parliamentary commission, consisting of the four political parties represented in the parliament, has been conveyed to write a draft. According to public opinion polls, the idea of making a new constitution is supported by 70 per cent of the people.1 Various civil societal organizations are actively engaged in proposing drafts to the parliamentary commission and in mobilizing the population through public meetings held nationwide.

Despite the enthusiastic calls for a new constitution there are controversial issues to tackle, and reaching a consensus will still be a challenge. One such issue is whether there should be references to the “principles of Atatürk” and “the Atatürk nationalism” as the ideological basis of the constitution. 

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Call for Paper | Politics of the Balkans and Future Perspectives